The situation: The coach with the most difficult job this spring might be Brian Callahan, who instructs the offensive line. He will attempt to establish chemistry within a group of young linemen who have never worked together. Having watched six years of the Browns' annual swiss cheese line, I can tell you the cohesiveness and coaching is more important on the offensive line than any other position.
In 2005, Akron's line looked to be in rebuilding mode. Yet the players worked together to keep Luke Getsy vertical. Last season, missed assignments on blitzes left the Zips quarterback to be an infant in front of a locomotive. Callahan's specialty has been as a run coordinator, and he does a fine job at that. His challenge will be to get his linemen to avoid a repeat of 2006, where opponents sacked Getsy 31 times, fourth-most in the MAC. That goes doubly with a new quarterback, whether it be Carlton Jackson, Chris Jacquemain or Sean Hakes.
The question: Although the Zips have talent at offensive line, will they protect a new quarterback?
Discussion: That's right, there is talent. Chris Kemme, an All-MAC selection in 2006, appears headed to the pros. Newcomers Casey Estrada (junior college) and Paul Simkovich are three-star players, according to Rivals.com. Keith Huebner and Mike Ward are coaches' favorites who could emerge like Kemme. Jim Holley and Mike Schepp provide experience and possibly leadership.
A combination of Simkovich, Ward and Schepp will play most snaps at guard. Holley probably will man the center position. With Huebner and Kemme at tackle, the blind-side hits on the quarterback shouldn't be a problem. Like I said, though, the real question is whether they all can work together to avoid missed assignments on blitzes.
Prediction: Of all the "camp questions," this is most difficult to assess. Run blocking should not be a problem, especially considering the progress made during the spring. Pass blocking should develop as the season progresses. It helps to play Army -- the nation's worst team according to CFN -- the first week of the season. The Black Knights' defense logged only 11 sacks all of last season, so the Patriot Bowl should give the Zips coaches a good check-up before a true test at Ohio State.
In regards to pass blocking, all the line needs to do is be average. I think, in time, that will be guaranteed (if there is such a thing in discussing Akron's offensive line).